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1949 episode of the TV series "Captain Video"

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1949 episode of the TV series "Captain Video"

Publication date 1949
Publisher DuMont Television Network
Rare 1949 episode of the TV series "Captain Video and His Video Rangers". The show is about a "Space Captain" and his "Video Ranger" who must the galaxy from the evil Dr. Pauli. . The show was live, which would explain the missed cues. Most episodes are presumed lost. The series was never liked by TV critics, though proved popular with children. Later seasons had improved writing. However, as corny as the show was, it did prove influential on later series.

****Please note that the first few seconds of this broadcast are missing****


Reviewer: Phoghat - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 28, 2016
Subject: Yes it was bad, and we LIKED IT !
I was addicted to Captain Video as a kid. All the reviews noting how bad it was are not from people who were kids when it was on TV.
Reviewer: Boomer12k - favoritefavoritefavorite - October 22, 2010
Subject: Several Captain Videos!
1949 Captain Video and his Video Rangers.
1951 Captain Video: Master of the Stratosphere which is a Movie Serial.
And 1956 Captain Video and his Cartoon Rangers.
I only vaguely remember the name. So I downloaded the Serial awhile back. Another kids show from the early days of television!
Reviewer: jackpoint188 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 21, 2010
Subject: The First Sci Fi Drama
This show was obviously watched by Gene Roddenberry when growing up. Star Trek has a similar social context regarding other space cultures.
Reviewer: IanKoro - favoritefavorite - June 3, 2009
Subject: The Outer Limits
"The outer limits" is not an uncommon phrase. Saying that the "Outer Limits" tv show was a reference to a line from this is like if they used the term "deep space", and saying "Deep Space Nine" was a reference to this show.

Anyways, it's a kids show, and very space opera-ey so it's not really all that great. Kind of entertaining, but not particularly special.

If you want great sci-fi from this time, find the Tales of Tomorrow episodes on here, or listen to the Dimension X, 2000 Plus, and X Minus One otr episodes.
Reviewer: ohsnapiam56 - favoritefavorite - April 28, 2009
Subject: Everything old is NOT new again, thank God
When this was shown on TV, I guess it wasn't considered so bad because TV was so new. How else could something soooo dreadful have made it on the air? Was there a plot? But you have to admire any production company with the nerve to put this on. And Dr. Pauli...that actor really wanted to ACT didn't he? A window into yesteryear when viewers were more innocent and could ooh and ahh over stuff like this.
Reviewer: Philosopher Jay - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 20, 2009
Subject: Back To The Future
I only knew of Captain Video from a particularly funny episode of "The Honeymooners" television series. In it, Ed Norton, Ralph Kramden's neighbor appears as a video ranger and seems to be a big fan of the show.

Two things struck me watching this episode. There is a reference to "The Outer Limits" which became a science fiction series in the 1960's. I guess the title of the show might have been a reference back to Captain Video. There is also a reference to a device that can turn people into atoms and reassemble them in another place in the galaxy. This is apparently the basis for the transporter beam on Star Trek, another science fiction show of the 1960's.

It is fascinating to see how the series influenced future science fiction television.

The ideological messages delivered in the middle of the show, one attacking communism and the other attacking discrimination were also fascinating.

The cowboy movie seemed to be integrated into the show, so I assume it was part of the broadcast.

A live show is quite difficult, the acting and direction seemed profession for such a small budget.
Reviewer: cathyftr - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 11, 2009
Subject: After DuMont...there was Metromedia
Someone earlier had mentioned that DuMont is forgotten today. Sadly that is true and the smae thing can be more/less said about Metromedia. Some of those DuMont stations such as the "main" DuMont stations WABD/WNEW in NYC and DC's WTTG after DuMont became Metromedia. Metromedia wasn't a "Network" per-say but rather they did get into the syndication route. And the cost-cutting did continue. Soupy Sales who had a show sydicated through Metromedia in the 60s hs always claimed how low budget his shows were back then. Forgotten now but Metromedia for a time back in the late 60's actually had a record company..remember Bobby Sherman? Hard to believe such gems like "Easy Come Easy Go" and "Julie Do You Love Me" and Captian Video had ties LOL

But to be fair to Metromedia, they did at least spend some money in the 70s. Merv Griffin's talk show is still fondly remembered today. Then there was Bob McAllister's Wonderama. Metromedia spent some money on that too by having such guest stars appear on that show as Michael Jackson, Diana Ross even ABBA. With so many famous guest stars, never quite understood why Metromedia didn't syndicate this show to more stations than just within the 6 or 7 stations of the Metromedia family?

But Metromedia did some things that "didn't quite work out". Suceesful in doing the Ten O'Clock news format. Not so succesful in syndicating Maury Povich's talk show in the 70s ( back when he had "class" ), the magazine show from 1983 "Breakaway" and I am not even going to begin with "Thicke Of The Night" LOL

Anyway what was DuMont, later Metromedia..did lay the foundation for...FOX !! So when FOX turns 50 in 2036 and if they decide to do a retro special or whatever, I doubt they can really overlook DuMont and such shows like Captain Video.
Reviewer: Visaman - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 11, 2009
Subject: Quick...
The commissioner badly needs a throat lozenge, go to commercial...what we have no sponsor this week, egads!
Reviewer: BruceFrey - favoritefavoritefavorite - December 1, 2008
Subject: wrong tv show appears in the middle
Be aware that about half way in, this episode of Captain Video is replaced temporarily by a few minutes of a TV western series. It is not clear to me if this was done during the airing of the program (i.e. the Captain Video episode was likely recorded by filming off of a TV monitor duirng the live broadcast) or during later duplication.
Reviewer: BoPo Bellsinger - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 29, 2008
Subject: yowza!
that Don Draper always looks so effin good, no matter what.
Reviewer: Classic_TV_and_Radio_Fan - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 13, 2008
Subject: I Don't Care what Anyone Says
This show is brilliant, weird, yet brilliant. I recommend this to anyone who likes their TV innovative, unique and non-mainstream. If you want "I Love Lucy" or some other bland sitcom, look somewhere else. If you want to see a 40's/50's TV series that is creative and full of imagination, then you'll enjoy this!

True, it does have an "Ed Wood"-ness to it, but what's wrong with Ed Wood-ness? Like Ed Wood, the people who made this show were trying to create art but didn't have any money. But their love of creating TV helps this show overcome it's low-budget, resulting in a broadcast which can be enjoyed both as camp, but also as one of the most interesting and daring shows of all time.

Reviewer: videoranger - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 15, 2008
Subject: Captain Video
I remember Captain Video and His Video Rangers with fond memories. Captain Video had special effects that were state of the art, even by todays standards. Special effects were so good that they looked real. Science fiction writers like Author C. Clarke and Jack Vance wrote and contributed scripts to Captain Video. I recall Captain Video as being well acted and very exciting.
Reviewer: jazzfan - - May 13, 2008
Subject: We had a DuMont Television Set.
That's the only thing I remember about DuMont. I was too young when the went off the air.
Reviewer: Robin_1990 - - March 9, 2008
Subject: RE: When Men Were Men and Space Ships Were Cardboard
Thanks for the review. "Captain Video" certainly is cheap, But is of huge historical interest, being the first Sci-Fi show. I've uploaded some other DuMont footage including an episode of "The Morey Amsterdam Show"....That show is interesting; Each episode was filmed on the same small set! DuMont was a low-budget network, But their programs, no matter how cheap, are so giddy and charming that it makes you wonder what would of happened if they had survived. DuMont created the first sitcom, the first soap opera and the first national "religous" show, So it's a shame they are forgotten.

I'm happy to say that the productions of NBC/CBS of the same period are much better! Come to think about it, Most of the other shows that aired on DuMont were better than this show too. I'm amazed it was never mocked on MST3K, Since this could use with some mocking. Still, although "Captain Video" is probably the worst show of it's time, It influenced better shows like "Star Trek", and it does have a certain charm to it. Again, Please note that most other shows of 1949 were much better.
Reviewer: barticle - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 2, 2008
Subject: Captain Video
I don't think I ever saw this show when I was a teenager, because our family was too poor for a TV set. We could barely afford a radio. Maybe it's just as well I missed it. This show is a real treasure just because it's so really really bad. Was there any logical reason for the cowboy movie clips, other than to fill time? Come to think of it, I don't watch TV anymore at all because it's even worse now than it was then.
Reviewer: Eight Bit Bandit - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 2, 2008
Subject: When Men Were Men and Space Ships Were Cardboard
I've previously seen part of this episode on YouTube; I look forward to seeing it in full when my download finishes sometime next year.

"Captain Video," for those out of the loop, was an ancient and primitive attempt at science fiction television. The hero - Captain Video - was billed as "master of time and space! Guardian of the safety of the world!" in the intro, set against music from "The Flying Dutchman" and a really bad picture of a mountainside. Seriously. That picture wouldn't sell as a postcard.

But that's the idea, because Captain Video has his secret base there, from which he launches his missions to stop the forces of evil, all of whom are really, really weird looking, and have plans of evil conquest that rarely make sense. I just finished watching "Back to the Future," and the allegedly whitebread world of the 1950s actually contained a lot of really weird s*** that didn't survive in the popular consciousness. When the Sixties came along and everyone under the age of thirty went out and bought tinted sunglasses and tie dyed their clothing, a lot of that earlier age was swept away. "Captain Video" was among those cultural touchstones lost in the shuffle.

Nobody remembers the DuMont network, either. "Back to the Future" is set in November 1955, and DuMont had already been gone several months by then. The network lived its entire life before the advent of videotape, and the handful of surviving episodes of its various programs - like this one - exist on kinescopes. Kinescopy was a ridiculous recording process that worked by actually filming a television set, thus capturing the ephemeral transmissions that would otherwise by lost in the void of space.

Everybody in the US grows up on "Star Wars," "Star Trek" and "The Twilight Zone" - the indoctrination generally happens when we are so young we don't even remember it. (I do, by the way, remember watching "Star Wars" my first time. We had rented it from the video store, and their VHS copy was so worn out it actually dissolved into static for awhile in the middle. Remember videotape? I was born in 1988.) However, there is no indoctrination for "Captain Video," and those of you who are now contemplating downloading it should know, if you don't already, that it's cheap. Really, really cheap.

The production values of "Captain Video" are a reflection of how totally broke DuMont was, each and every day that it clung to existence throughout the late Forties and early Fifties. DuMont was new - the Big Three, as we know them, were already well established in radio and were sending out feelers into TV. DuMont had nothing, and to be fair, it shows.

And yet...

It's possible, somehow, to feel the tenacity in old DuMont broadcasts. Every cut corner, every cheap prop and (especially) the recycled cowboy films that made up part of every broadcast only prove that these people really wanted to get their stuff out on the air, no matter what.
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